Rovers Outplay Gunners at the Fortress
Attendance: Ewood Park
A sensational fight back led by the man who bleeds blue and white, David Dunn, ensured Rovers surged into the top half of the Premier League table. After conceding early to Robin Van Persie, David Dunn and Chris Samba slotted the goals to provide Blackburn yet another valuable 3 points at Fortress Ewood.
Blackburn made 4 changes to the team that faced Wolverhampton, David Dunn, Vince Grella, Keith Andrews and Chris Samba coming in at the expense of Steve Nzonzi, El Hadji Diouf, Nikola Kalinic and Phil Jones.
With only the finalisation of positions to play for, you could forgive both teams for just going through the motions. However, neither outfit showed just that. Arsenal were off to the brighter of starts. Theo Walcott looped around Ryan Nelsen, leaving Paul Robinson stranded in no man's land. Walcott cut the ball to Vela who had the simplest of finishes, however, he dragged his effort wide. Arsenal continued to maintain the pressure, moving the ball across the pitch in the style that Arsene Wenger demands.
Arsenal did get their due rewards in the 15th minute. Samir Nasri's corner, directed to the near post, was flicked on by Bacary Sagna to an unmarked Robin Van Persie, who made no mistake, heading the ball into the back of the net, 1-0 Arsenal.
With Arsenal continuing to dominate possesion, it was a matter of counter attack football for Blackburn, and whether they would make the most of their chance. Arsenal maintained the pressure, with Van Persie's 25 yard free kick well saved by Robinson, whilst Vela and Nasri dragged their attempts wide.
Jason Roberts proved to be a menace up front in typical fashion, holding up the ball with 2-3 markers on him. Rovers started to turn the tide, with David Dunn making his mark on the pitch, distributing as needed, whilst Vince Grella, making some crunching tackles, and collecting a yellow card for obstruction.
As the game headed for the break, Blackburn managed to snare an equaliser. A Morten Gamst Pedersen corner found Ryan Nelsen in the box. He set up Andrews on his right, who drilled the ball towards goal. Jason Roberts attempted to flick the ball goal wards, however his attempt of a shot managed to set David Dunn up, leaving the local lad to pass the ball into the back of the net, 1-1 Half Time.
No Changes at the break
The second half began in slow fashion, with neither side able to create an opportunity. Arsenal continued to pass the ball around in midfield, but Rovers were shutting every attempt to create a opportunity. 53 minutes in, Morten Gamst should have put Rovers infront. David Dunn picked out Keith Andrews, who, thinking he had Kaka's boots on, put the most delicate of through balls into the path of Gamst Pedersen. One on one with Fabianski, Gamst's failed attempt of a finish was parried by the keeper. As Gamst chased onto the rebound, he was brought down by Sol Campbell, however the referee waved play on and signalled for a corner.
Sam Allardyce decided to make an attacking change, taking of Vince Grella (non injury related substitution) and bringing on Junior Hoillet. The young Canadian almost made an immediate impact. David Dunn surged up field, setting up Hoillet, who struck on the counter, but Fabianski was up to the task, parrying over for a corner.
Jason Roberts had the next chance for Rovers, but, after suddenly remembering his strike rate, he opted for the greater percentage play. After bringing down a long ball into the box, Roberts cut back inside his man, leaving him with a 15 yard shot on goal. In his wisdom, JR cut the ball back to Keith Andrews, who also was gun shy, stepping over the ball for the unaware David Dunn. The ball rolled past Dunn, with all 3 players standing looking at one another...Pull the trigger JR!
Rovers were unlucky not to have the lead only minutes later. Martin Olsson was incorrectly ruled offside after a over the top through ball by Dunn. Olsson buried it in the back of the net, but play was brought back. However, Rovers did not have to wait long.
After several fumbles and mistimed clearances by Fabianski, it was the high ball which proved his downfall once again. Gamst Pedersen lobbed in a corner, Fabianski was nowhere near the ball as Chris Samba headed in from 1.4 yards out, the Ewood faithful erupting, as the boys in the blue and white halves celebrated. 2-1 Blackburn.
Phil Jones came on for Dunn to close of the game, Arsenal left with very little to create.
And so Rovers notched up another 3 points at Fortress Ewood, jumping into 10th spot, and Sam ALlardyce, once again, was sure to make his mark and infuriate dear friend, Arsene Wenger....
Ok, we do give the lad heaps of slack, but he worked his socks off, made the corners for our goal and was a persistent pest up front. The difference between Jason Roberts doing that and Nikola Kalinic/Franco Di Santo, is we dont expect Roberts to score goals, we know he cant, so just work your arse off and set up Dunn and we are all happy
Paul Robinson 6
Ryan Nelsen 7.5
Chris Samba 8
Gael Givet 7
Michel Salgado 7.5
Keith Andrews 7
Vince Grella 7
Morten Gamst Pedersen 7
Martin Olsson 7.5
David Dunn 9
Jason Roberts 9
The Final Word